Book Review: Fractured, by Clar Ni Chonghaile

Publisher:  Legend Press    |    Publication date:  1st February 2016

Fractured My Review

Fractured

Fractured is bold and intense, as hopeful as it is bleak. Every word from its heart is perfectly attuned to capture the shifting mood throughout, and it doesn’t miss a beat.

A story-hungry journalist, his estranged mother, and a Somali teenager. These individuals will endure many challenges presented by a country where the struggle for control takes centre stage, and the consequences are greater than they could ever imagine.

The opening scenes evoke a sense of hopelessness for Peter Maguire, a journalist held captive in a squalid cell by his merciless kidnappers. He is lost, both geographically and mentally, craving his past lives; one built with his girlfriend in France, the other in Liberia, which includes a son he has never seen.

Peter’s basic needs are left in the hands of a young and puzzling character. Abdi has experienced many unkind events in his sketchy life. There are not many options for this lad’s future, other than to face recruitment by a terrorist group wreaking havoc. His duties include bringing food to the prisoner, whose fate he knows to be sealed, but in quieter moment he also exchanges a few words, albeit briefly.

Peter’s current circumstances were more akin to a living tomb. He is waiting for the day the door would open and this half-life would finally be over. But until that happens he exists in hours of darkness and allows regret to consume him, as he would miss the opportunity to right his wrongs.

On his current path, Abdi realises his life is an infinite nothingness. The skinny, unsmiling lad is trying to ignore an invite to join the militants fighting for power while privately questioning the motives behind the kidnapping. His spontaneous decision to aid Peter’s escape arrives with little preparation. Without shoes, or a definitive direction, they flee into the night. As they are evading capture an odd, unspoken friendship ensues.

Peter’s mother, Nina, is restless waiting for news in Paris. Once a journalist herself, she is unable to sit and do nothing, so she jets off to Somalia hoping to make amends for a secret she held back in Peter’s youth. While she is there she will endeavour to chase away the ghosts of her past and try to contribute what ever skills she can collect along the way.

Told in the first person, the haunted trio offer their fragmented stories in turn by voicing their fears, their inner turmoil, and their experiences within this hostile environment, past and present. As they reflect on their lives it is clear they are all imprisoned in one way or another. Are they prepared to accept this fate, or can they leave their torment behind them?

That conclusion can only be reached by immersing yourself in the stunning passages, and often solitary sentences, that were so perfectly formed I personally stopped to re-read them. I’ll leave you with one such poignant moment that creates a powerful impact in a mere few words:

At first, her face didn’t change, and then it was as if someone had stuck a pin into her neck, letting the air hiss out. She shrank, her shoulders sagging. She stopped fingering the wooden bangle that Peter had brought her on his last trip to Africa. Her hands fell into her lap, like shot birds from the sky.

Rating: 5/5

(With thanks to Tom Chambers and Legend Press for arranging a paperback review copy of this title, as part of the Legend 100 Club.)

Legend 100 Club

 

(Courtesy of Legend Press)

Peter Maguire has been kidnapped in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. He does not know where he is or what is going to happen to him. The journalist is filled with fear and, as the days go by, this dread of the unknown is shot through with remorse for the mistakes of his past.

Peter’s mother Nina comes to Somalia to wait for her son’s release. His plight forces her to relive another trauma – the fatal shooting in Liberia of Shaun Ridge, a young photographer she once loved, and Peter’s real father.

Abdi, a Somali teenager working with Peter’s captors strikes a tenuous friendship with the prisoner based on a shared feeling of captivity. He decides to help Peter escape. Together and they set off into the barren vastness of a land filled with danger.

Three people must journey into one of the world’s most dangerous places, the human mind, to answer the question: are we ever truly free?

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 (Courtesy of Legend Press)

Clar Ni Chonghaile Author PicClar Ni Chonghaile is the author of Fractured, due February 2016.

Clár grew up in the West of Ireland, the eldest of seven children. She left Ireland aged 19 to work as a graduate trainee journalist at Reuters in London. Clár has worked as a journalist for over 20 years and has lived in Madrid, Paris, the Ivory Coast, Senegal and Kenya.

Whilst in Nairobi, she freelanced for the Guardian and travelled to Somalia to cover the African Union’s battle against al Shabaab and the plight of thousands of displaced people.

Clár returned to London in Summer 2014, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

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Book Review: Lost Girls (Detective Kim Stone Book 3), by Angela Marsons

Publisher:  Bookouture   |   Publication date:  6th November 2015   |   Edition:  Kindle (Review Copy)

Lost Girl Review

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons Kindle Cover

Lost Girls is the third book in a series of consistently traumatic crime thrillers from Angela Marsons, and boy does she know exactly how to create tension. It starts with a ripple, then rises like high tide until engulfs you entirely. When DI Kim Stone was born, crime fiction just got grittier.

With a kidnapping plot escalating, Stone is confronting an invisible adversary and family secrets, that not even an experienced liaison officer can iron out.

One of the worst possible scenarios has occurred – two children are missing. Hideous enough by itself you’d think, that is until a solitary text is received indicating the severity of the situation. While everyone is scratching around for clues, Stone is making promises she may not be able to keep and her already low patience threshold is declining rapidly.

The anonymous texter sends shivers through the team with their carefully selected words. The only way to retrieve the girls is to barter for their lives – highest bidder, winner takes all. Well, their child anyway. The other will not return, leaving one family empty handed after suffering the same ordeal. The question on everyone’s lips is exactly how do you place monetary value on the life of your child? And why should someone else’s be worth any less?

Emotions run feverishly high. Guilt faces the parents at every turn – by not offering enough they risk losing the game, or too much and sealing the fate of another family’s flesh and blood. As a reader you feel every moment of anguish they suffer, while the texter stops at nothing to achieve their goal.

Given Kim Stone’s harsh approach in social situations, you’d think she wouldn’t be assigned to deal with the public in any capacity. But as she was invited to lead the investigation in this instance she’s been warned to keep her manners in check by her Super. Alas, her last ounce of patience is relentlessly poked with a stick when the intervention of so-called expert negotiators is called for and she is forced to bite her tongue. It’s not long before she forges ahead with her own unique approach to bring those responsible down – it’s not always pretty, but it’s very, very effective.

Drawing from her own tragic background, she has developed an aptitude for honing in on the Black Country’s most wanted. Like a dog with a bone, she won’t let go. Especially when there’s kids involved, or one of her team, then you definitely do not want her on your tail, as she’s willing to make the necessary sacrifices to protect them all.

Lost Girls offers yet another viciously cruel game and a supremely unnerving plot. You hear from the good guys, the bad guys and the victims themselves, until the layers of the crime scene paint a picture so vivid you will feel like you’re sitting right in the middle of it – which is perfect, as you won’t want to miss a thing.

ABSOLUTELY, WITHOUT A DOUBT,

H I G H L Y   R E C O M M E N D E D  ! ! !

~ Yes, that’s 5 out of 5 – AGAIN ~

It’s a good ‘un!

(A thousand thanks and more to Team Bookouture and Kim Nash for providing a digital copy of this book for review, and extra-special thanks to the talented Angela Marsons for writing it. Now, the last time I got my hands on a book in this series I offered my left kidney, but if I continue like this I will expire before I’ve read them all. Erm, would you consider an I.O.U. ? Please?)

Lost Girls Book Summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

The couple that offers the highest amount will see their daughter again. The losing couple will not. Make no mistake. One child will die.

When nine-year-old best friends Charlie and Amy disappear, two families are plunged into a living nightmare. A text message confirms the unthinkable; that the girls are the victims of a terrifying kidnapping.

And when a second text message pits the two families against each other for the life of their children, the clock starts ticking for D.I. Kim Stone and the squad.

Seemingly outwitted at every turn, as they uncover a trail of bodies, Stone realises that these ruthless killers might be the most deadly she has ever faced. And that their chances of bringing the girls home alive, are getting smaller by the hour…

Untangling a dark web of secrets from the families’ past might hold the key to solving this case. But can Kim stay alive long enough to do so? Or will someone’s child pay the ultimate price?

The latest utterly addictive thriller from the No.1 bestseller Angela Marsons.

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Lost Girls Author Links

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Angela Marsons is the author of Amazon #1 Bestseller SILENT SCREAM.

She lives in the Black Country with her partner, their bouncy Labrador and a swearing parrot.

She first discovered her love of writing at Junior School when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read “Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people’s”.

After years of writing relationship based stories (My Name Is and The Middle Child) Angela turned to Crime, fictionally speaking of course, and developed a character that refused to go away.

She is signed to Bookouture.com in an 8 book deal. The second book in the Kim Stone series, EVIL GAMES, was released on 29th May 2015.

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BOOKS IN THE DI KIM STONE SERIES:


 

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Book Review: The Hunt, by T J Lebbon

Publisher:  Avon (Harper Collins)  |  Publication date: 16th July 2015 | Edition: Kindle (Review copy, via Netgalley)

The Hunt My Review

Spectacularly intense. That’s the only way to describe Chris’s day in The Hunt.

The Hunt by Tim Lebbon Kindle CoverAnd that day started pretty well for this ordinary architect fellow when he set off on his early morning run, only to return to find things have escalated rather quickly in his absence.

His family are missing, with no clue to their whereabouts…cue the appearance of a strange brute in his kitchen, who advises Chris to sit tight and await a phone call.

Following said call, bring on a frantic quest where he may save or lose his family, and possibly himself, while a higher power orchestrates a dangerous game with civilian’s lives as the prize.

It turns out that ‘The Trail’, as they are known, hunt game. But they like a challenge, preferring their prize to walk and talk – they like to track people, and bizarrely they’ve found a market for it. To ensure their chosen ‘game’ plays ball and gives them their money’s worth, they secure their loved ones in a remote location until the game is over, one way or another.

Chris is alone and confused. He’s been told in no uncertain terms not to contact the police. All he can do is follow the instructions of a stranger he met only moments ago and try to run for his life.

Luckily, unexpected assistance presents itself with the arrival of Rose. Her knowledge shouldn’t be underestimated, as she knows exactly what he’s going through having experienced it herself with disastrous consequences. She offers her invaluable aid to the shell-shocked father of two by putting into practice her unexpected skills she’s honed over time. But as the day progresses it seems that Rose holds her very own agenda of contempt for ‘The Trail’ and may throw a spanner in the works for all of them. Rose is a gutsy gal, I liked her. Although her backstory does stretch the imagination to the limit it’s quite forgivable. This is thrilling fiction after all, so anything goes!

Expect plenty of action, thrills and chases over rugged Welsh terrain, the isolation of which is depicted quite brilliantly. With the appearance of a helicopter and various weaponry, the heat is well and truly cranked up with this one!

Without a doubt, at the heart of The Hunt lies seriously extreme suspense. The end result ensures pure escapism pulses throughout the book, for both the main character and the reader alike. There’s no denying that it’s highly entertaining and I’d have no hesitation recommending it to anyone who loves a pacey killer of a read.

Rating: 4/5

(My sincere thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book for review, it’s much appreciated.)

The hunt Book Summary

Buy the Book:  AMAZON UK

The cruellest game. The highest stakes. Only she can bring his family back alive …

Rose is the one that got away. She was the prey in a human trophy hunt organised by an elite secret organisation for super-rich clients seeking a unique thrill. She paid a terrible price. Every moment since she has been planning her revenge … And now her day has come.

Chris returns from his morning run to find his wife and children missing and a stranger in his kitchen.

He’s told to run.

If he’s caught and killed, his family go free. If he escapes, they die.

Rose is the only one who can help him, but Rose only has her sights on one conclusion. For her, Chris is bait. But The Trail have not forgotten the woman who tried to outwit them.

The Trail want Rose. The hunters want Chris’s corpse. Rose wants revenge, and Chris just wants his family back.

The hunt is on …

The Hunt Author Links

Twitter     |     Website     |     Amazon UK     |     Publisher

Dying for Christmas, by Tammy Cohen

Dying for Christmas 08.12.14

With its twists and turns, this story is positively wriggling!

Publisher: Black Swan imprint | Publication date: 4th November 2014 | Edition: Paperback (own copy)

Setting a psychological thriller during the twelve days of Christmas was a excellent idea – it would make the most excellent film (not to mention a skin-crawling one).

All told a fantastic read that holds your attention – the plot, the pace, the people, all captured just right.

The general gist of the story is that Jessica Gold meets a man whilst shopping and he subsequently invites her back to his home. She is then held captive over the 12 days of Christmas and each day she receives a bizarre gift from her captor. But matters take on an unexpected twist on the captivity front – it’s a story that goes, much, much deeper, in fact it’s pretty twisted and I didn’t guess the turn of events until I was faced with them!

The main question presents itself:  Who’s willing to play the sick game that the meek and mild Jessica Gold has got herself involved in, and ultimately will she survive it?

I particularly liked the way the font altered during the chapters when Jessica Gold was speaking about her experiences in captivity, to when it switched to the others, the police and her family during her absence. This made it VERY easy to read, as you knew who was narrating and what to expect – you could just sit back and listen to the story flow, without stopping to question where you’d got to and who is talking, as with some books you read. The chapters are quite short, too, helping you to absorb the intense story, bit by bit.

And it wasn’t all police procedural either, which makes a refreshing change. It was ALL STORY from start to finish, simply proving that as a reader you don’t need to know EVERY minute detail about police work to know how to catch a killer…

It’s a jaw dropping book, but I had to re-read the ending to fully grasp it, but as soon as the penny dropped I was like, “ooooh, now that’s clever.”

Rating: 4/5


You can follow the author on twitter: @MsTamarCohen